Rosemarie Beck Seymour Remenick

Le Maquillage/Magdalen & Visual Perception May 30 - June 30, 2013

Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects presents two exhibitions. In the front gallery are Rosemarie Beck’s Le Maquillage/Magdalen series, her first narrative figure paintings from the early sixties. Concurrently, in the rear gallery, SHFAP presents Visual Perception, paintings and drawings by Seymour Remenick (1923-1999).

Rosemarie Beck (1923-2003) studied at Robert Motherwell’s school and was mentored by Phillip Guston and Bradley Walker Tomlin. Her abstractions from the 1950s were inspired by Guston’s Abstract Impressionism and championed by the young Hilton Kramer. In 1960, however, she eschewed abstraction for a figuration that was at once personal and mythical. Her paintings have an almost textile-like weave and touch, like the embroideries she also made.

This exhibition presents three major related paintings from the early 1960s that address the theme of the artist in the studio. In Rosemarie Beck’s studio, the artist is a woman, surrounded by women, making-up, posing, reading and painting. These women are echoed in the images on the canvases around the studio: the studio is a mirror reflecting itself. A blonde sylph-like Magdalen with a long white ribbon in her hair glides through the different canvases. In another painting, the model appears to be Beck herself: she is both witness and actor.

There is something delightfully subversive about seeing the traditional view of an artist’s studio so thoroughly occupied by women in a multiplicity of guises. Beck lived her life as a profound intellect amidst a bevy of brilliant men. In her Maquillage/Magdalen series, she envisioned her studio as a refuge of the feminine.

The exhibition will also include a group of Beck’s small abstracted oil on cardboards, painted throughout her career. The Beck exhibition will be accompanied by a catalog with an essay by Jennifer Samet, who has written about Beck and interviewed her shortly before her death.


Seymour Remenick followed a parallel path, studying in the mid 1940s with Hans Hofmann before making a turn toward representation around 1950. Remenick eschewed his modernist schematic color and composition for an almost Dutch small-format vision of landscape, painted directly from observation in a deliberately dark palette.

Throughout the 1960s and 70s his palette brightened and he developed a spontaneous shorthand and a tangible perceptual intimacy with his subject. Remenick arguably employs the purest approach of any post-war American painter to plein-air landscape painting.

Fairfield Porter wrote about his work: “Remenick expresses as well as it is expressed today, the idea that the ends of painting are to be found in its means.” When Remenick writes that “Rembrandt not only eliminates the dross and the inconsequential, but he also introduces the elements of air and the spatial nuances produced by light,“ he could reasonably be speaking about his own work, with its paired down eloquence and variety of tone and atmosphere. This exhibition will also include examples of his early works. In 2010, Remenick’s work was surveyed at The Lancaster Museum of Art.